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Rotator Cuff Injuries

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Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator Cuff Injuries

Rotator cuff injuries can be extremely painful, affecting your shoulder’s mobility and your overall quality of life. The rotator cuff is a set of tendons and muscles in the shoulder joint, responsible for arm movement and stability. These injuries can be caused by various factors, including age-related wear and tear, repetitive overhead motions, traumatic accidents, and poor posture. 

Understanding the causes, symptoms, and treatment options for rotator cuff injuries is essential for those seeking relief from the pain and limitations these injuries can impose.

This resource will cover the anatomy of the rotator cuff, the causes of these injuries, the different types you might encounter, and how to seek compensation if you’ve suffered a rotator cuff injury.

What Is the Anatomy of the Rotator Cuff?

What Is the Anatomy of the Rotator Cuff?

The rotator cuff is an important part of your shoulder joint. It consists of a group of muscles and tendons that work together to make the shoulder move smoothly and keep the shoulder stable. Understanding the anatomy of the rotator cuff can make it easier to understand your rotator cuff injury. The rotator cuff consists of three major parts: muscles, tendons, and bursa. 


There are four main muscles that make up the rotator cuff:

  1. Supraspinatus: The supraspinatus is located at the top of the shoulder blade. This muscle is responsible for lifting your arm.
  2. Infraspinatus: The infraspinatus is found on the back of the shoulder blade. It helps you externally rotate the arm.
  3. Teres Minor: The teres minor is located below the infraspinatus. This muscle also helps with external rotation.
  4. Subscapularis: The subscapularis is located on the front of the shoulder blade. It helps with the internal rotation of the arm.

Each of these plays an important role in the functioning of the area.


Tendons are flexible strips of tissue that connect the muscles to the bones. Tendons allow the muscles to transmit force to the bones, making physical movement possible. The tendons of the rotator cuff are especially vulnerable to injury because they play such an important role in shoulder rotation movements.


Between the rotator cuff and something called the acromion (a bony part of the shoulder blade) is the bursa. The bursa is a cushion filled with fluid that acts as “bubble wrap” for the bones. This cushion helps reduce friction during shoulder movement. A bursa can become inflamed during a rotator cuff injury, causing bursitis.

What Can Cause a Rotator Cuff Injury?

Rotator cuff injuries can result from various factors, often involving the wear and tear of the tendons or acute trauma. Common causes include:

  • Age-Related Wear and Tear: As we age, the tendons in the rotator cuff may degenerate, becoming less flexible and more prone to injury. This natural aging process is called degenerative tendinopathy.
  • Repetitive Overuse: Occupations or activities that require repetitive overhead motions, such as painting, carpentry, or sports like tennis and baseball, can strain the rotator cuff over time, leading to injury.
  • Trauma: Blunt force trauma to the rotator cuff can occur as a result of accidents like falls or sports-related collisions, potentially leading to painful tears or injuries in the shoulder’s delicate tendons and muscles. Such injuries may necessitate medical attention and rehabilitation to regain full function.
  • Poor Posture: Maintaining poor posture over extended periods can lead to muscle imbalances and increased stress on the rotator cuff tendons, making them more susceptible to injury.
  • Genetics: Some individuals may be genetically predisposed to rotator cuff injuries, with their tendons naturally being weaker or less resilient.

Other causes may contribute to a rotator cuff injury as well.

What Types of Rotator Cuff Injuries Can a Person Sustain?

Rotator cuff injuries encompass various types and degrees of severity. The most common types of rotator cuff injuries include tendonitis, tendon tears, impingement syndrome, and bursitis.


Tendonitis refers to inflammation of the tendons. Tendonitis in the rotator cuff is often caused by overuse of the rotator cuff or age-related degeneration. Symptoms include pain, swelling, and a reduced range of motion.

Tendon Tears

Tendon tears can be partial or full-thickness. Partial tears affect only a portion of the tendon. Full-thickness tears, on the other hand, extend through the entire tendon. These tears may result from trauma or degeneration. Tendon tears of the rotator cuff can cause significant pain and can limit someone’s functioning and mobility.

Impingement Syndrome

Impingement syndrome occurs when the rotator cuff tendons become pinched or compressed between the acromion and the head of the humerus (upper arm bone). This condition can lead to tendonitis or tears.


Bursitis refers to inflammation of the bursa sac (“bubble wrap for the bones”) within the shoulder joint. Bursitis of the rotator cuff often causes pain, swelling, and discomfort during shoulder rotation movements.

How Can You Get Compensation for a Rotator Cuff Injury?

If you’ve suffered a rotator cuff injury due to the negligence of another party or in the workplace, you may be eligible for compensation to file a personal injury claim and help cover medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

To pursue a successful personal injury claim, a plaintiff must show that the responsible party’s actions or negligence directly caused the injuries. Most personal injury cases can be resolved through negotiations. Litigation might be needed if the parties cannot reach a fair settlement.

If you plan to pursue a personal injury claim for your rotator cuff injury, you should take the following steps.

  1. Document Your Injury: Seek immediate medical attention and maintain detailed records of your diagnosis, treatments, and all related expenses. This documentation will serve as crucial evidence in your case.
  2. Identify Liability: Determine whether another party’s negligence contributed to your injury. This could include workplace accidents, car accidents, or slip and fall incidents caused by someone else’s actions.
  3. Consult an Attorney: It’s advisable to consult a personal injury attorney. They can assess the strength of your case, help gather evidence, and provide guidance on your legal options. 

If you choose to bring a personal injury lawsuit, an attorney can help you file a personal injury claim against the responsible party or their insurance company. You may be able to recover damages you’re seeking compensation for, such as medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Your attorney will negotiate with the opposing party to reach a fair settlement. If negotiations fail, they may recommend taking your case to court to seek justice through litigation.

Rotator cuff injuries can affect your ability to work, engage in daily activities, and enjoy life as you once did. Understanding the causes and types of rotator cuff injuries is necessary to navigate these challenges. 

If you believe that you have a personal injury claim, do not hesitate to reach out to the Law Offices of Jay S. Knispel to explore your legal options and pursue the compensation you rightfully deserve. Call us today at 212 564 2800.

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